Acoustic Gig Recording Advise with Zoom H2

I have a Zoom H2 recorder and am wondering about how to go about recording my acoustic gigs. We only have guitar, mandolin and bass with vocals so it’s pretty simple. We use a mackie 8 channel and mics on everything and I can send main out to the mic inputs on the Zoom. I’ve had some luck with recording 4 channel and lowering the lowering the gain of the built-in which gives adds a nice room sound to the mix. What best practices are there for getting good live recordings including post-processing with Audacity. Thanks in advance for any readers or responders on this great forum for a great product.

I can send main out to the mic inputs on the Zoom.

You could but you shouldn’t. The sound mixer should be connected to the Line-Inputs, not Mic-In.

What best practices are there for getting good live recordings including post-processing with Audacity.

You seem to be well on your way already. Post some of the work in high quality WAV or AIFF. If you do that using files on the forum, you will only get a couple of seconds. Find a file hosting service that will let you post larger files.

Do Not Do production in MP3.

Include brief solos with an occasional silence and then some tutti. We can do more with that than 25 pages of forum postings.


Oh. Send work straight and without echo or room injection or any help at all. Koz

Thanks for the replies, a couple things to clarify.

  1. It is a Zoom H4n, not Zoom H2
  2. I am currently running RCA tape-out from mixer with adapters to 1/4 inch plugged into the dual purpose mic/line in at the bottom of the Zoom.
  3. the rooms I’ve been recording in have lots of crowd noise so I can’t use these but we have a gig in a nice room coming up and I want to be prepared.

More Questions
-Can/should I use XLR Main out from the Mackie and go directly into the Zoom XLR in?
-Do I need an attenuator for any of the above?
-What is the best way to set levels on the Zoom

Thanks, this forum is fantastic!

Correct me, but the XLRs on the mixer are line level and the XLRs on the Zoom are Mic-In, a mismatch of about a thousand or so. My H4 isn’t to hand right this second, but doesn’t it have a 1/8" Line-In on the bottom? Adapt that to the RCA or 1/4" connections on the mixer. You’ll have to read the instructions on your mixer and the Zoom.

As with most live performances, run the Zoom levels no closer than about 6dB or so from maximum level. Again, I can’t see my Zoom right this second. If the sound level ever goes all the way up at any time during the show, that short portion of sound may become permanently damaged – crunchy/popping.

It’s the reason many USB microphones record very quiet. you can make up the volume later, but you can’t make up the show that has become trashed.


Thanks much Koz. Oops, my mackie doesn’t have XLR out, it uses either main out(balanced) or Tape out(unbalanced line). The manual for the Zoom says the “combo” input supports either balanced or unbalanced so it seems I just have to match to the right one which I’m pretty sure I’m doing. Either of these should work.

  1. Mackie main out (1/4 balanced) to Zoom XLR balanced input with a 1/4 inch to XLR connector
  2. Mackie tape out (RCA unbalanced) to Zoom 1/4 inch unbalanced

#2 is what I’m doing now but the levels are often too loud so perhaps now I just need to focus on setting levels on Zoom H4. Once I figure all of this out, I’ll post back my findings.